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This site is the inspiration of a former reporter/photographer for one of New England's largest daily newspapers and for various magazines. The intent is to direct readers to interesting political articles, and we urge you to visit the source sites. Any comments may be noted on site or directed to KarisChaf at gmail.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Feds Drop Most Charges Against Man Who Linked to Anonymous’ Stolen Data -- By Kim Zetter, Wired, Threat Level

Federal prosecutors in Texas have moved to drop all but one of the 12 fraud charges against Barrett Brown, a writer charged with crimes that involved data stolen by a member of Anonymous.

In a motion to dismiss (.PDF), the government today offered no reason for the move. Brown still faces a single charge of possession of stolen credit card numbers with intent to defraud, and a separate indictment for threatening an FBI agent.

The move comes a day after Brown’s defense attorneys filed a 48-page motion to dismiss the charges against him, on grounds that the government failed to substantiate that Brown had committed a crime. It also comes just as the Electronic Frontier Foundation was preparing to file an amicus brief next Monday on behalf of several journalism groups that have expressed support for Brown.

Brown, whose prosecution threatened to become a First Amendment test case, was charged with 12 counts centered around a link he posted in a chat room that pointed to a file containing data stolen from the intelligence firm Stratfor, or Strategic Forecasting. The data, stolen by Jeremy Hammond, a member of the loosely affiliated Anonymous collective, included company emails as well as credit card numbers belonging to subscribers of Stratfor’s service.

Brown didn’t steal the data but simply copied a hyperlink from one public chatroom and reposted it to another. Eleven of those charges accused him of aggravated identity theft for possessing and trafficking in stolen authentication features — which authorities identified as the three- and four-digit card verification value (CVV) that is printed on the back of the cards.

The twelfth charge, for access device fraud, accused Brown of illegally possessing the stolen cards — presumably cards that were found on his computer after he downloaded the Stratfor cache himself.

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